Skip to main content

Who Doesn’t Love the Wind?

vladimir-putin-polar-bears Russian President Vladimir Putin, that’s who.

"You couldn't transfer large electric power stations to wind energy, however much you wanted to. In the next few decades, it will be impossible," Putin said, adding that consumption patterns would only undergo minor changes.

He said the only "real and powerful alternative" to oil and gas is nuclear energy. He rejected other approaches as "claptrap."

Russian has a word for “claptrap?”

---

Even though we’ve run a lot of stories about international activities, it’s actually rather hard to keep up with every country that wants to (re)join the nuclear family. So I thought it might be worthwhile to catalog a few countries that haven’t had a post yet – get them on the radar so we can take a better look at their ambitions going forward.

--

Argentina has revived its nuclear energy industry, joining its neighbor Brazil.

President Cristina Fernandez's government is finishing construction on the South American country's long-stalled third nuclear power plant, and plans to build another two by 2025.

Lithuania, replacing its Soviet-era plant that it had to shutter as a precursor to joining the European Union.

Lithuania invited investors to bid on building a nuclear power plant to reduce the Baltic country’s dependency on energy imports from Russia.

It wants to get it running by 2019.

Jordan:

Jordan signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan, paving the way for Areva SA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to sell reactors to the Middle East country.

2019 is again the target. That might be tougher where there hasn’t been an industrial or regulatory regime in place. Argentina and Lithuania do have prior experience with nuclear plants.

Kuwait:

Kuwait, the fifth-biggest oil producer among OPEC members, plans to build four nuclear power reactors by 2022, joining a drive for atomic energy among Gulf countries seeking alternative sources of electricity.

Apparently, the UAE has started a trend in the Middle East, with perhaps a dollop of neighborly trepidation over Iran’s activities. The Bloomberg story tries out a different explanation:

Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and the United Arab Emirates are turning to atomic energy to save oil reserves for overseas sales. They need to allay U.S. concerns the technology may get diverted to weapons programs in a region that has experienced three major wars since the 1980s.

I’ve never really seen such concern expressed except about Iran. The evidence suggests that these countries want to open nuclear trade with the U.S. (and other countries) and are working as they should with the IAEA.

Kuwait ratified a protocol giving International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors access to future nuclear facilities to ease American concerns, said Tomoko Murakami, a nuclear analyst at the Institute of Energy Economics in Tokyo.

No offense to Murakami, but this would carry more weight from an American official.

---

With all this international activity, I found this quote from Alternate Energy Holding’s Don Gillispie unusually germane:

"America still is the largest producer of nuclear power," stated Gillispie, "with about 31% of the total worldwide nuclear generation. And with all of the political pressures to legislate so-called green environmental standards, more and more nations are now considering nuclear power as a safe alternative energy source. The future is bright for nuclear power."

More and more nations indeed.

Vladimir Putin. Can’t know for sure, of course, but I sincerely doubt an American politician could win an election who photographs like this.

Comments

DocForesight said…
I don't know much Russian, but I might wager that "claptrap" sounds like 'vodka' with the proper amount of attitude-adjustment-hour input.
David DeAngelo said…
25% isn't bad - for wind. The inflated claims of wind advocates have led to higher expectations, which (no surprise) are not being met. Spain's wind network definitely operated at 24% in a couple of the yearly supply summaries that I looked at - 2007 and 2008 I think. A Daily Mail article? With no quotes or stats to back up these claims? Really?
Anonymous said…
Let's assume for the sake of argument that 25% is attainable by wind. OK, so, where does the other 75% come from? Looks like we've left out three quarters of the complete picture.

My guess is that 25% is about the best that we're going to do on the "renewables" side, and in that I include wind, solar, biomass, conservation, "micropower", and the like. You want to minimize carbon emissions on the other 75% still needed? Sounds like you're going to have to go with nukes.
Meredith Angwin said…
Capacity factor for wind depends both on location and the turbine design. When we (Coalition for Energy Solutions) were doing our estimates for wind in Vermont, we battled this out within the group. If we said "less than 25%" we could be accused of using old-time technologies for our capacity factors. If we went up to 35%, we were in the range of very new turbines in off-shore areas.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …